Friday, 30 December 2011

2011 - End of Year Wrap Up


Hey guys, just wanted to say that I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and wish you all the best for the new year! I’ve met some great people and have read some amazing books and can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

Here’s my Top Ten Reads of 2011 - in no particular order…


  The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – loved this series!
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott – Mega favourite set in a fairytale Japan!
Dance of Dragons by George RR Martin – Must read series!
New York to Dallas by JD Robb – The fact that it’s JD Rob should say it all!
Beauty by Robin Mckinley – Loved this fairytale retelling!

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles – Yummy Romance and bad boy’s!

A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis – I love Kat!

My Sister lives on the Mantel Piece by Annabel Pitcher – Touching but funny!

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Fab Debut!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini – Modern Day Homer, yes please!

I Would totally recommend all of these as they are all brilliant books!
See you all next year!
J

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ash - Book Review


Malinda Lo
YA fantasy fairytale


Synopsis:

With her parents both gone, Ash finds herself a servant in the house of her ruthless stepmother and there seems no hope of finding happiness again.
But Ash is unaware of her mother’s legacy, and that it will lead her to a magical place. A place where love, identity and belonging are all waiting…



Review:
From the beginning, I knew that Ash was a retelling of the classical fairytale Cinderella. I was however, completely unaware of the twist that makes Malinda Lo’s Debut novel so unique. When I finally caught onto the direction the book was heading I think my initial thoughts were, ‘Oh my…’ followed by, ‘That’s different’ to just simply ‘…wow’.  All I can say is that this book totally blew me away.
Beautifully written, Malinda Lo instantly captivates her readers with her lyrical prose, vivid imagery and atmospheric detail. She creates a fantastical fairy world that completely grips your imagination from page one. With exciting characters of all kinds, this book is so much more than a simple re-telling. Not only does it explore Ash’s world and life in great detail but it reveals the how, what and why behind her choices - particularly in how she deals with her unexpected attraction towards the king’s huntress.
However on that note, while I must admit that I do prefer the classic version where Cinderella falls for the Prince, I would really hate to see this novel become labelled as just ‘the lesbian version’ as this story has so much more to offer. Written in a depth of magic and back story, Malinda Lo’s ‘Ash’ explores the themes of first love, friendship and sexuality. It is also a truly an amazing tale of romance, adventure and growing up.
Therefore I thought ‘Ash’ was a stunning debut novel and I think it will appeal to any older teen or above who is willing to keep an open mind.  A beautiful but slow paced read, it is the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy day. Completely different to anything I’ve ever read, this is an author whose books everyone should try at least once.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Angel Fire – Giveaway Winner


I just want to thank everyone very much for all my lovely birthday wishes. I had a totally fab day that involved lots of laughter, presents and Japanese food (as well as the throwing of eggs… J). Also not only did I receive an abundance of books, I got a Kindle too! Double Yay!
Anyway, thank you to everyone who entered my birthday giveaway.
The Winner, picked by the random number generator is…
MEL S
Congratulations! A signed copy of L.A Weatherly’s Angel Fire shall be winging its way to you soon!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

IMM #5 November and RAKS



This month I’ve won some great books but as I’ve lent my camera to a friend I’m afraid there’s no pictures, just a list.
COMPETITIONS:
Velvet by Mary Hooper
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Wickedness by Deborah White
Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling
A Tangle of Magicks by Stephanie Burgis
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Dark Warning by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery by Keren David
Angels Fury – Bryony Pearce

BIRTHDAY BOOKS:
New York to Dallas – JD Robb
Jane Eyre (Penguin Classic Edition) by Emily Bronte

Fairy Tales (Penguin Classic Edition) by Hans Christian Anderson

Cold Magic - Kate Elliott
Die for Me - Amy Plum
RAKS:
I didn’t receive any books this month but I did send ‘Shiver’ by Maggie Stiefvater out to Megan @Readingawaythedays
J
So I just want to say huge thank you to Emma @bookangelbooktopia for the big box of  11 ARCs and @TheHistoryGirls. Thanks so much for having such fab competitions!


Friday, 2 December 2011

Entangled - Book Review


Entangled
Cat Clarke
Contemporary YA
Seventeen-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper – and no clue how she got there.
As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page she is forced she remember everything she tried to forget. There’s falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there’s something missing.
Grace must face the most important question of all.
                                                            Why is she here?
             
Entangled is a really fascinating, cleverly written read that captures your full attention from page one. Incredibly thought provoking, Cat Clarke skilfully weaves a story that deals with many of the darker, teenage issues such as cutting, pregnancy, casual sex and suicide. Yet despite these elements, the main character Grace always keeps the story from getting to depressing with her sarcastic humour and honest remarks.

Written from Graces view point, the reader is instantly aware that Grace is a girl with issues. She has a lot of inner turmoil and low self esteem, and despite her badass, grown-up attitude her thoughts and actions show just how young and naive she really is. I also think she is also one of the most realistic characters I have ever read in teenage fiction.

Also, even though my own teenage years weren’t bad, there was always something within Grace that I (and I think most girls) could relate back to. Whether it’s low self esteem or problems with friendship, or even just those times when you’re alone or there’s no one around who seems to understand you - this is what I think makes Entangled such a powerful novel. It is also full of British slang and references which I totally loved ! (As any other Brits out there will understand – YA authors at our end of the world are hard to find).

Throughout the book there are also hints that something about the story itself is off, but you can never quite tell what (all my guesses and theories of what would happen completely went out the window). All of which leads up to a very twist worthy-ending that will leave you pondering about Grace, her life and what will happen to her next.

Therefore, Entangled is a captivating and powerful debut novel filled with emotion and depth that will make you cry, laugh and curse. Totally and completely recommended! J


Thursday, 1 December 2011

NaNoWriMo – Final count



Ok so I’ll admit, hands up that I didn’t finish my Nanowrimo this year.
Yet having said that, I don’t think 32,000 words is too shabby either, however as predicted life got in the way of actual writing. Still I’m really pleased with myself and hopefully sometime soon I’ll have at least a half workable novel to revise and keep me busy during 2012.
Anyway this was just a quick post to say thanks to everyone who supported me and put up with all crabbiness/ranting and general demoness tantrums this passed month, and also to congratulate all those people who did win Nanowrimo this year. You guys rock!

J


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Birthday Giveaway! Signed copy of Angel Fire (UK Only)


These past few months I’ve won some amazing books from lots of other bloggers out there, met loads of amazing, book loving people and just fell in love with the book blogging community in general. So please, consider this as my way of saying thank you to you all.

Therefore, as it’s my birthday at the end of the month, I’ve decided to host a little giveaway where one lucky winner can get their hands on a SIGNED copy of L.A Weatherly’s newest book, ANGEL FIRE.

(Feel free to go ‘Oooooh’)

Because it’s my first giveaway I’m going to keep it simple. All you have to do is fill in the form below with your name and email address before Midnight on the 30th Nov. You don’t have to be a GFC follower to enter (although I’d be very happy if you do) and unfortunately, as I am a poor jobless student this giveaway is for UK residents only – Unless you don’t mind paying for international shipping.   
Anyway, Good Luck guys and please spread the word
J

P.S I've never used this form before so if someone could let me know it works I'd appreciate it -  if not feel free just to leave your name and email in the comments :)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

On My Wish List #1


On My Wish List is a weekly Meme hosted at Book Chick City every Saturday. We show the books that we desperately want to read but haven't got around to buying yet.

This week at the top of my wishlist is:


Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them.

Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them...

From the get go I have heard nothing but good things about this book and it sounds so intriguing. What do you guys think? Is it a good read?




Friday, 18 November 2011

Guitar Girl - Book Review



Guitar Girl – Book Review
Sarra Manning
YA chick-lit
Molly’s band, The Hormones, was only ever suppose to be about mucking around with Jane and Tara, writing songs about Hello Kitty and being a girl. But when the band gets hijacked by demonic Dean and his mate T, they find themselves on a roller-coaster ride to the top of the charts. Screaming fans, diva tantrums and love on the road. Molly feels like a real rockstar…
But fame never comes for free, and Molly’s about to find out what it costs…

Depicting the life of Molly Montgomery ‘Guitar Girl’ follows the highs and lows of a normal high school girl who is suddenly thrust into living life in the spotlight. When she and her band are unexpectedly rushed into stardom, Molly is forced to deal with the pressures of fame, drugs, blackmail and a broken relationship with her parents. Not to mention a possible new romance with the guy she hates most in the world, her fellow band mate and know-it-all Dean. Yet as Molly moves into the fast paced world of the music industry she soon learns that while everything is pretty and sparkly on the surface, enemies lurk around every corner.
Told in a flash back style, the reader is well aware from the beginning that this will be a story of betrayal, heartache and a big; blow-up ending that inevitably leads to a lawsuit. However, this does not spoil the story in any way and Sarra Manning weaves a well written tale of teenage angst while exploring the issues/expectations that come with being famous.
Overall I thought it was a good book with a very original story. It had a plot that bordered on the line of ‘yeah – it’s a little out there but it could happen’ which I think would really appeal to teenage girls, although I think readers aged between 12 – 15 would appreciate this book the most.
However I will admit that Y/A contemporary chick-lit isn’t really my kind of story (but I am trying to branch out in what I read) so while I probably won’t read Sarra Manning again, I can see why so many people adore her writing. I think she really connects to the feelings, drama and tantrums that come with being a teenage girl J
However as a note for older readers, or the younger – more advanced readers out there who started dipping into the adult section at 13 (yeah, I was one of those to) I don’t know if this book would be your thing. While the story was good, Molly as a character was very innocent and very immature. There were many points in the book where I had to pause just so I could rant at her. Usually something like, ‘Stop! Why would you do that? Can’t you see you’re being tricked?’ kind of thing – which I think some people may lose patience with. Still, I thought it was a good book to pass the time.


Monday, 7 November 2011

Dark Goddess - Book Review



Sarwat Chadda
YA Paranormal
Billi Sangreal is a Knight Templar and has thrown herself utterly into the brutal regime, shutting herself off from everyone and everything. But when Billi finds herself at the heart of a savage werewolf attack, she know their target – a young girl – must be rescued at all costs.
For this is no ordinary girl. Vasilisa is an avatar with an uncontrollable force within – and it’s not just the werewolves who want her. The Dark Goddess wants to sacrifice Vasilisa and use her powers to unleash unimaginable catastrophes and devastation.
Can Billi protect Vasilisa from the ancient Goddess – and at the same time stop her from destroying the world?
A few months ago, I read an epic book called ‘Devil’s Kiss’ that was adventurous, heartbreaking and filled with plenty of kick-ass characters that I couldn’t help but care for. Now the war between good and evil continues in its sequel ‘Dark Goddess’ which has higher stakes, greater intrigue, new romances and more action packed sword fights. I found it very hard to put down.
In the first book the main character Billi is trying to break free of her legacy, rebelling against her life as a Templar Knight. All she wants is to be a normal teenager without responsibilities – which everyone other than her father thinks is fair enough. Now in this second book you see how Billi has matured and accepted her duties, both her heart and mind hardened by the pain of the loss and sacrifice she’s previously endured. Yet even Billi finds her new, armoured-determination cracking when she is faced with grimmest choice of all. Can she kill an innocent child to save the world?
Through Billi’s eyes the reader is taken on an almost impossible quest. Journeying from the cobbled streets of England to the forgotten magnificence of Russia, Sarwat Chadda tells a story that is steeped in Russian folklore, delicately woven with other myths and legends to create horrifying evils whose sole goal is to bring about the apocalypse.  
With painted descriptions and hidden plots that will keep you guessing, this is a great sequel that wraps up all lose ends. It is clear to see how characters have grown and how relationships – particularly the one between Billi and her father – have developed and progressed.
All I can say is that fast paced and beautifully written, ‘Dark Goddess’ was an enchantingly, action-packed read with a twisted ending that will leave you thinking even days after turning the last page. After all, is the distinction between good and evil really so black and white? That is for you to ponder…
Lovers of action-packed novels, kick-ass heroines and ancient/secret societies - ‘Devil’s Kiss’ and ‘Dark Goddess’ are definitely books for you.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

IMM #4 October and RAKS



This has been another fantastic month for me, particularly for competitions. I just want to say a huge thank you to all the amazing publishers, authors and book bloggers out there for hosting such amazing giveaways! Hopefully at the end of this month I’ll be having one of my own so keep checking back.
 J

From competitions:
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead from Samantha @ adreamofbooks
A signed copy of Passion by Lauren Kate from Nikki-Ann @ notesoflife
Brimstone by Alan Skinner from Liz @ planetprint
Fury by Elizabeth Miles from @ thebooksmugglers
The Crimson Shard by Teresa Flavin from Tracy @ talltalesandshortstories

And last but not least
6 Books From the Adventure Island Series by Helen Moss from Vivienne @ Serendipityreviews
From Swaps:
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
City of Angels by Cassandra Clare

Brought:
VII by Harriet Castor
(I'm actually on a book buying ban but I couldn't resist)
RAKS:
I didn’t receive any books this month but I did sent both Stray by Rachel Vincent and The Novice by Trudi Cadavan to Hannah @ Onceuponatime
J
Reviews soon to follow!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Show Gratitude for Books


Over on her blog, Beth Revis is hosting a fantasic giveaway to win 19 signed books! Plus there is Swag and runner-up prizes to be won! To enter all you have to do is write a post about which book you are most grateful for.

For me there was only ever one choice:


J. M Barries Classic Story - Peter Pan

I always loved this book as a child and thought Neverland sounded such a magical place. Every night I would jump on my bed trying to fly so that I could go there and have adventures with pirates and mermaids - and there would be no adults to make me go to bed or brush my teeth!

As a child I would always make my grandfather read it to me. He had such a story telling voice and somehow he made the words come alive. After he passed, this book was a great comfort to me and I have a beautiful hard back edition that still bares his 'happy birthday' message to me in the right hand corner of the inner cover. It's a book I will always treasure.

So that is why I'm grateful for this book. Not only has it given me happy memories of my grandfather, but it has inspired many an afternoon of adventuring in the garden, magical feasts in my den (which honestly was just a big cloth that kept me hidden under my grandparents dining room table) and daring battles with my old dog Nanny-Ben who was kind & patient enough to put up with for all those years.

Magical and fantastical - Peter Pan still stirs my imagination to this day.
'The second star to the right, and straight on until morning.'
That is where dreams are found.

*
What books are you grateful for?




Halloween Reads




Coraline – Neil Gaiman
Middle Grade Horror

Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “Other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy, black button eyes.
When they make it clear however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and the three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures…
It may be a book for kids but I personally think Coraline is one of the creepiest stories I’ve ever read. Hair-raisingly chilling, it is a total must-read story for Halloween night!
Neil Gaiman is an amazing writer who skilfully brings to life a nightmarish world that hovers just close enough to reality to be truly frightening. With rats, ghost children, a stalking dismembered hand and especially the ‘other’ buttoned-eyed people, this book had me completely captivated from the beginning to end. Not to mention the fantastic illustrations - which in truth - creeped me out just as much as the writing.  
And, while it may sound strange, I think the older you are the scarier you will find this book to be. My younger self would probably have thought this story was about a girl on a great adventure to battle evil. Now at 22, I think it’s a book about a girl (who will probably have nightmares for the rest of her life) trying to escape the clutches of evil. Trust me, there is a huge difference.
Yet either way, Coraline is a fantastic read that truly stirs the imagination and rattles the nerves. It is so much more than a children’s book. Adults (and Y/As), I suggest you go find yourselves a copy and make sure you’re not in the house alone. Trust me, after reading this you will definitely want to sleep with the light on.
Have a Happy Halloween! J
*Note: there is a movie version but I have never seen it. For me the book was more than creepy enough but I would be interested to know which you guys think is scarier?


Monday, 24 October 2011

Inspirational Writer-ly Quotes


Hey guys, I know I know I haven’t posted in over week. I have fallen victim to the evil demon of winter, the horrid, soul sucking monster of dread that has rendered me helpless and completely incapable of doing anything productive – so yeah, I have a cold.  
Therefore, rather than posting another book review (which I admit I attempted and failed miserably to write), I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite inspirational quotes. I have them pinned up near my computer to help me with me sluggish, less motivated and more brain dead days.
Also forgive me, I don’t actually know who I’m quoting here so if you know who said what please let me know :)
Quotes

1) ‘The worst novel that you put on paper is far better than the best novel that you have in your head’
2) ‘Idea’s are not the hardest part, making yourself sit down and write is.’

3) ‘Even the best books like to repeatedly punch you in the face while you are working on them.’

4) ‘You don’t need to be inspired to write, You need to write to be inspired.’

5) 'If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’

6) ‘I do not like to write, I like to have written.’

7) ‘Write with your heart and the story will follow.’

*~*
Hope you guys have a good week. I’m going back to bed now armed with my books, cup-a-soup and favourite panda-teddy hot water bottle. *Sniff* I’ll see you all when I come out of hibernation.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

NANOWRIMO 2011



NANOWRIMO 2011

So I was curious, is anyone else out there taking part in this year’s national novel writing month? If so, are you all targeting 50,000 words?
I have to admit I feel a little bad. November is probably the worst month for me to try and write a novel. I mean for me it’s a month of Christmas shopping, Uni deadlines and of course my birthday -which naturally I try and drag out in a weeklong celebration :) Also did I mention I’m meant to be starting my dissertation?  

Of course these are all just excuses. Each month of the year I have at least two important dates marked on my calendar - and day to day life soon takes up the rest of the month. I’m pretty certain this is the same for everyone? So, as I finally realised that these things aren’t ever going to change, I’ve decided this year that I’m going to stop procrastinating. This year I’m challenging myself to nanowrimo!
As much as I’d like to dream that a writer’s life involves lazy mornings in bed and days spent working in my pyjamas, I know the reality is rather different. Writers have lives, they have jobs, they have family and friends, dogs to walk, kids to chauffeur and a million other everyday commitments… and yet they write.

Whether it means writing on the train, on their lunch breaks of even getting up that extra hour early – they find ways to fit writing into their lives. So therefore what’s the excuse?  50,000 words, ok that’s a lot but even if it’s 30, 000 or 20,000 or even just 5,000, it’s all progress that will bring us that much closer to our dreams.

So I’ll ask again. Are you participating in NANOWRIMO 2011?



Thursday, 13 October 2011

Angel - L.A Weatherly Book Review


Angel – Book Review
L.A Weatherly
Y/A Paranormal
Willow knows she’s different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into people’s futures; know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from…
But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willow’s secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy.

While I have never been a fan of whole ‘Angel and Demon’ craze that recently stormed the YA book shelves, L.A Weatherly’s ‘Angel’ honestly surprised me. Not only was it a book I enjoyed immensely, but it portrayed a darker, flip side to angels that I have never seen done before.
Based on the premise that Angels aren’t the kindly, protective beings mythology suggests, but actually cruel, darker creatures who feed off the life force of humans, this book’s unique concept had me utterly intrigued.
Written in a combination of both first and third person - I must admit that the change of narrative threw me a little at first. However once you get use to it I think it helps add depth to the story, and it also distinguishes the view points between the two protagonists Alex and Willow.
 I also really liked how the romance between these two blossomed sweet and slowly. Although while the initial attraction was there from the beginning, their feelings built up over time and it was only after several days spent in each other’s company - and many close calls with death - that they finally got together. For me this made the romance between them all that more real and moving.
Throughout this book I was also really fascinated by the concept of religion and how the ‘Angels’ were using it for their own evil purposes. Also the idea of angel burn (the after affects of an angel’s touch that cause illness and mental diseases) I felt added a nice sideline to the plot.  I’m curious to see how both these ideas will continue in L.A weatherly’s sequel, ‘ANGEL FIRE’ which was recently released in the UK on 1st October 2011.
Therefore overall I felt this was a really good book with a captivating story and would recommend it to anyone who loves to read Young Adult, especially if you’re like me and have been disappointed with teen angel stories in the past. Everyone, this is a book you most definitely want to pick up! :)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

IMM#3 September and RAKS


September was another great month for me and I scored myself some fantastic books!
From competitions:
Flip by Martyn Bedford, won from MostlyReadingYA
Paradise by Joanna Nadin won from Luisa @ chicklish
From Swaps:
Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton from Clover @ Fluttering Butterflies
From RAKS:
Beastly by Robin Mckinley from Emma @ BelleBooks
A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis also from Luisa @ Chicklish
J

Books I sent:
Shadows of the Moon by Zoe Marriott to Amie @ Welcome To My World

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me a book this month, they’re all greatly appreciated! Also we’re not even a week into October but it already looks like it’s shaping up to be a good month for books to!
Thanks guys!
XxX

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Reasons to Write


Lately I’ve found that when I sit down to write… nothing happens. No matter how many hours I spend in that chair I’m lucky if I get down 50 words and even then I usually go back and delete/rewrite them all the next day. So after suffering with this problem for the last few weeks I finally had a ‘Eureka’ moment last night at about 2am when I realised my mistake. My reasons to write were wrong!
Now instead of just sitting and typing away like I used to (not caring or thinking about anything other than writing my story) I would antagonise over every single sentence, plagued by thoughts such as;
Would that scene that I love put an older reader off my book? Would my use of exclamation points put off an agent? Is my choice of wording to advanced? Does that comment make my character to unlikable?’
Do you spot the problem? Rather than writing the book I want to write - I had began writing the book I thought everyone else would want to read. You see somewhere in the midst of my writing journey I lost my way and suddenly EVERYTHING became about becoming published and impressing agents which believe it or not, was never my goal.
OK sure, I admit I’ve thought about it (and in great detail to I might add) I even have my thank you speech and first book dedication all written out :) but until recently, getting a publishing contract was never the REASON for my writing. Last night I had to remind myself of this and getting out my notebook, I sat and wrote out my motivation behind it all. Here is my list:
Reasons to Write (Plus a few reminders)
1.      Because writing is awesome and I LOVE doing it.
2.      Originally, this story was only intended for me, Skittle and Sqwoo (my best buds who I promise are actual people and not the imaginary kind that there nicknames suggest).
3.      It’s my story, my world, my rules.
4.      It’s the book I’ve always wanted to read and should remain the story I’ve always wanted to write (And If I write it wrong my characters will never forgive me)
5.      Also because this is a hobby try and remember there is no deadline!
6.      It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
7.      Anything else that happens is a bonus!
8.      Remember publishing can be a goal but never the reason you sit down and write every day.
So after laying all this out I felt much better. Also luckily the damage to my WIP isn’t too extensive. All my worrying over words, exclamations and sentence structure has thankfully left me with little to fix.
Anyway, I think my point to all this is that while in some ways it’s good to consider target audience and marketing appeal to agents and publishers, I think it’s more important to write the book that you love and want to write. After all if you don’t love your story, how is anyone else meant to love it either?
Therefore if my story is enjoyed by other people then great, if it’s loved by Skittle and Sqwoo even better. If it is the best book I’m capable of writing and tells the story I want to tell, then everything I set out to do will have been achieved.
What do you guys think? What are your reasons for writing?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Poison Diaries - Book Review


The Poison Diaries – Book Review
Wood Northumberland
YA Paranormal
In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love…
Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible power of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure – or kill.
When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined…
I don’t know how long ‘The Poison Diaries’ has been sitting on my shelf but after reading many mixed reviews about this book, I grew curious enough to pull it from my to-be- read pile to find out what they hype was all about. I was not disappointed.

A unique and unusual story, I thought this book was beautifully written and the descriptions of the cottage and its gardens were colourful and vivid. Having spent many a weekend in and around Alnwick myself, I can agree that the book was spot on.

Although while I think the story gets off to a slow start, a few chapters in the real drama begins and I soon found myself completely captivated. With a very dark and twisted plot, the book carries within it the themes of first love, betrayal and sacrifice, all portrayed through the lives of three equally fascinating characters. Weed, Jessamine and her father Thomas.

However I must say this book was not the light-hearted read I was expecting. Intriguingly cruel in parts the story is quite dark and towards the end certain chapters really creeped me out – but in a good, ‘I cannot sleep until I finish this book!’ kind of way.

Therefore overall I found this book an interesting if unusual read. I loved the premise of the story that everything is a poison but the book itself also made me really aware of the harsh cruelty both man and nature is capable off.  For this reason I would probably recommend this book to readers of 14+

However despite its dark elements ‘The Poison Diaries’  always tempted me to read on and with questions left unanswered, I’m particularly looking forward to reading the rest of Weed and Jessamines story, continued in ‘Nightshade’ (recently released in the UK on September 1st.)  Toxic and deadly, ‘The Poison Diaries’ was a chilling and thought provoking book, beautifully written by Mary Rosewood, the current Duchess of Northumberland.

Side Note
If anyone is thinking of visiting Alnwick, after checking out the castle you need to go find Barter Books at the old train station. It’s one of my favourite places and every book lovers dream (Imagine a whole train station filled with cheap second-hand books galore!). Also a great place to exchange and clear-out your own books :)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Perfect Chemistry - Book Review



Perfect Chemistry – Book Review
Simone Elkeles
YA Contemporary Romance
Brittany Ellis seems to have it all; wealthy parents, the perfect boyfriend and the ‘right’ group of friends. But when Brittany is forced to become lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the wrong side of town, her perfect life starts to unravel. Alex is a bad boy, and he knows it, so when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it.
But as Alex and Brittany grow closer, sparks begin to fly and they both realise that sometimes appearances can be deceptive. Will there emerging feelings be enough to keep them together when the world is determined to tear them apart?
To say it bluntly, this book was amazing! Nice girl meets sexy, bad to the bone gangster boy = lots of romance and a fantastic read! Honestly, I started this book at 11pm thinking I would just read a few chapters then suddenly it was 6am! (Thank goodness it was a weekend) Where that time went I don’t know but this is a definitely a, ‘I’ll just read one more chapter’ kind of book.
Told through the eyes of both Alex and Brittany, their point of views altered between chapters yet the story flowed smoothly and kept me engaged throughout. I really liked this as it allowed me to immerse myself in both their worlds, letting me understand both their characters and how each was affected by the other.
Complete opposites, Alex is a Mexican (and absolutely gorgeous) gangster from the wrong side of town while Brittany is the rich and seemingly perfect cheerleader… yet beneath the surface their characters are so much more. Forced into the roles society expects of them, they hide behind false smiles while striving to meet the expectations and obligations put on them by family and friends… yet everything changes when their lives collide.
Separated by social and financial status, as well as the racial barriers upheld by their families and peers, Alex and Brittany are brought together through a bet and chance circumstances. Written with the premise that there is always more to a person than meets the eye, the story shows how together, they overcome their prejudices and discover the truth about themselves and each other.
However while I have to admit that the book did have its faults and many cheesy parts with lines that made me giggle, blush and swoon… I loved it all! I really don’t know what it is about this book but I couldn’t put it down and can’t wait to read its sequel ‘Rules of Attraction’.
Also while this is the first book I’ve read by Simone Elkeles she has totally been added to my list of favourite authors! Highly, completely and definitely recommended – it is a must read for all red blooded females! :)